Unless you’re living in an underground bunker surrounded by crates of dehydrated food and 5.56mm ammunition (nothing wrong with that mind you), you’ve probably noticed the dependency of people on their smartphones. I was in the bathroom at a store the other day and some dude was texting while … I’m sure you can figure it out.
Sometimes that dependency comes in handy. Just ask Ben Radakovich from Alaska. A brown bear mauled him while he was out hiking recently and he was fortunate enough to escape to a tree. Once out of danger, he yanked out his phone and called 911. Yes, they answered and soon sent responders to the rescue. He needed a pile of stitches, but was saved by cellular technology.
I’m not real techy, but I do have a cell phone for that very reason. I can do without texting or updating my Facebook page minute by minute about how I’m enjoying a great meal at In-N-Out Burger, but I enjoy the security it offers. I hunt and hike extensively on my own, and having that little, battery-operated device in my pocket means I might receive help if something unexpected occurs. Of course, depending on my location I might be out of luck, but that’s the dice you roll.
In the case of Radakovich, his chance encounter wasn’t necessarily his fault. He was hiking along a creek and the background noise likely drowned out his voice as he shouted during the hike to warn bears of his presence. But consider this: Are other animal encounters actually occurring because of smartphones?
In the same article as the Radakovich encounter, Dave Battle, a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, shares his belief that camera technology on cell/smart phones is also getting people in trouble. He believes people are pushing the limits of animal comfort zones in the attempt to get photos they can place on Facebook or text to friends. Because these phone cameras lack adequate zoom capabilities, people move closer, encroach on an animal and, before you know it, you’ve been run over by a moose or batted by a bear.
I’m a fan of the law of natural selection. Those who creep closer for smartphone photography might succumb to that law sooner than those who don’t Facebook. I’ll click “Like” to that concept, but that doesn’t mean I’m giving up my pocket-sized helper, either. I’ll just forgo the photo opportunity.